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Good morning! Happy Friday. We got this little card at the end of our ultrasound appointment yesterday, and inside it says whether baby Stockton is a boy or a girl. We've asked the fine people at Trophy Cupcakes to make us a dozen with either pink or blue centers, which we'll share with some friends at a little pizza party we're throwing tomorrow night. I don't know if I've ever been this excited about anything. Anyway, here are some of my favorite things from The Internet lately - just for you. Enjoy!

This made me proud to be an American.

"Babies remember." True comedians, these two.

This is bonkers. Just say no to drugs, everybody.

As though I wasn't already weepy enough, there's this.

What a great time to be alive.

"I've always loved to read, but I've also always loved to dance." Cornel West (with whom I apparently have a lot in common), talking with Questlove.

Someone go do this and make me a Christmas present!

You Have To

Remember this scene from the first Sex And The City movie? It’s just after Carrie gets left at the altar, then takes her BFFs on the honeymoon to Mexico. At the end of the scene, Samantha wakes Carrie to tell her she has to eat some breakfast, then feeds her yogurt with a spoon. She doesn’t waver in her insistence, but she’s gentle and kind. Just says “You have to” and, in that, communicates all the love and concern she feels for her friend. I’m pretty sure I cried over this scene in the theater. I remember thinking “If I’m ever so deeply devastated that I need another adult to spoon-feed me, I hope my friends will be that stern and loving.”

It’s been a rough couple of months. Living in Seattle was a total thrill for the first month and a half. I was busy and excited and making plans and meeting people and feeling hopeful about this next phase of life. I felt pangs of homesickness, sure, but we had a few visitors lined up when we first got here, so there were little bits of home to look forward to for a while.

Then I got pregnant. And nauseous. In case you’ve never heard (because I don’t recall anyone ever telling me), the term “morning sickness” is sort of the most evil misnomer ever invented. I pictured having to puke occasionally in the morning, but then feeling better (like you normally do after you puke) for the rest of the day. I was legitimately constantly nauseous 24/7 for the better part of 3 months and it was rough. I don’t meant to complain, because I am thrilled to be fortunate enough to get pregnant and stay pregnant without any secondary interventions. But the physical toll the first trimester took on my body really messed with my mind. I had some dark days.

I found myself longing for the comforts of home - the things and people and places I’ve always known. When some of your favorite foods are simply not available (anyone know where to find good green chile or a good bagel sandwich in Seattle?), some of your best people are only available via some sort of device, and your mom and dad’s couch is 100% available but 1300 miles away, it’s hard to feel like everything’s going to be okay. It was hard to feel hopeful about much of anything, least of all my ability to tackle the transition to motherhood well. Sweet Dann endured the hardest days with more grace and patience and gentleness and kindness than I’ll ever deserve.

Luckily I’m learning not to be too shy about owning up to my anxiety and mental health needs, and with the help of some high quality albeit very new friends, I’ve found a therapist who is helping me navigate this transition to an almost entirely different life. In case I’ve never said it to your face, I believe time and money spent on good counseling is the best investment I’ve ever made. And I own Apple stock.

During a stretch of some of the hardest days, Dann and a couple of other people suggested that I take a trip back to Denver on my own and stay for a whole week. Since I don’t have a job or any other real commitments here, I agreed it was probably a good idea.

I ended up with nine days in Denver and it was so good. I got to stay with my parents and each of my sisters for a few nights. I got to eat all the food I’ve been craving but haven’t been able to find here in Seattle. I got to spend good, quality time with so many friends I’ve been missing, and you know what? They all figuratively fed me yogurt with a spoon and reminded me who I am.

On my last morning in Denver, I had breakfast at Snooze with my sis Kate and two of my besties, APK and Kimbo. While we were talking about ways for me to enjoy my time here in Seattle a bit more (until this baby comes, anyway - trust me I’m aware that everything’s going to change again come April), Kate straight-up said: “You have to leave your apartment for more than 30 minutes every day. And not when you and Dann have plans together. Like, you have to get out and do something on your own.” And that was our Samantha/Carrie moment. The moment she said “You have to” and I knew that I’d known it all along but needed someone outside of myself to look me sternly in the face and say it with love.

And then, in true servant-hearted fashion, APK said she was going to create a Seattle Bucket List for me. She knows (as do you, most likely) that I thrive when I have structure and clearly defined goals to tackle. She knows that there is a lot to do and see and experience here in Seattle, and she doesn’t want me to miss out. Her idea quickly evolved into an editable google doc shared with a few other friends as well, and I’m here today to share some of the craziness they came up with in order to help hold myself accountable. I’m really excited to get started on it (though I’ll probably wait to do the Space Needle/Macklemore stunt until I’m more obviously pregnant because OMG what a story to tell this babe when he or she is older).

Here are some of the highlights:

- Find and take a picture of Bachelorette Desiree and Chris or Jason and Molly (I'll give you $20) 

- Find Russell Wilson and tell him he ain't all that 

- Spend 10 minutes enjoying a view in the rain

- Kiss Dann in the rain. 

- Create a tradition with Charlie Festus

- Volunteer somewhere.

- Take a ferry ride (just like Derek from Grey’s Anatomy)

- Join a writing group (one that isn’t dark and twisty)

- Find and interview Howard Schultz (i’ll give you $20)

- Buy some kickass rainboots so you can stomp in puddles

- Ride the crystal mountain gondola to stare at Mt. Ranier

- Wave a pirate flag on the top of the space needle while listening to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

- Take the clipper to Victoria and to Vancouver! Get your Canada on girl!!

- Read a book at waterfall garden park

- Celebrity stalk Dave Matthews and take a selfie (i dont have 20$ but maybe whoever wants you to meet those fools from the bachelor can spot you a twenty for me :) 

 

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves: "Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art...It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." I was so deeply thankful to be reminded of this by my friends when I was in Denver, and I'm thankful today for their list of "You have to"s here in Seattle. Time to get to work!    

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Hey! Happy Halloween! I woke up in Denver this morning and the sun is shining and I'm getting ready to go to the mall with my sisters and I couldn't be happier. We'll have chili and donuts and cider tonight and celebrate baby V's first Halloween! She's going to be a ladybug. I'm going to be trying to teach her to say "Jenny". Dann is still in Seattle and I'm already missing him like crazy, but we did sort of celebrate together last weekend when we took a ride on the Mount Rainier Pumpkin Express (not worth it, in my opinion). I hope you have some fun plans for tonight and the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow is the official first day of the most wonderful time of the year, after all. Here are some of my favorite things from The Internet lately - just for you. Enjoy!   

Maybe the best Halloween costume ever.

This is weird.

Harry Potter and Blackalicious all at the same time? Yes please!

Smaug!!

This rang very true for me. 

"I'm Okay!"

Monday Music: Seeking Input

According to various internet sources of information on fetal development, a baby can hear sounds outside the womb starting at around 16 weeks. How fitting, then, that we got to see Patty Griffin in concert on Friday night, the day our little one reached exactly 16 weeks in there. If you know me, you know how I feel about Patty. And I know there's no way to actually know, but I've been telling myself that the reason I burst into tears at the first notes of the song 'Ohio' and ugly cried through the whole dang thing is probably because the baby was so excited by the performance. Ha. I'm glad it was dark in the theater.

We started talking last week about what music we want to make sure our kid knows, since there's so much of it that's so important to us, and I decided it would be fun to ask for your input too! If you were going to choose a song (or album or artist or playlist) that you think any kid being born today should definitely hear, what would it be? We've obviously got Patty covered, and Dann has a playlist of his favorites already (it's 17 hours), but I also love the idea of having a crowdsourced collection to share with our little one. Leave your suggestions in the comments!